June 17, 2013 Jason Vernon

New Thoughts About Leadership Development

guest post by Kelli Wommack

Leadership Development can sound so corporate, so theoretical, so…like something else to add to our already full plates of ministry. That’s what many churches think.

And so it was with our church. We are a dynamic, growing church that has the by-product of a tired, overworked staff with a growing span of care of volunteers. We thought we were doing it right by simply recruiting and placing volunteers in ministry. Occasionally, we would promote a “leader-type” to leader, but only of a function…not necessarily as a leader empowered to lead and develop other leaders.

Why did we maintain a level of care for over 25, 50 or sometimes a hundred volunteers instead of empowering other leaders to lead? I recently came up with a few reasons:

1.  THE NEED TO RESPOND – “It is our responsibility as staff to care for our area of ministry and our volunteers. How can I ask a volunteer to do this?” Many staff members feel like it is their responsibility to care for all areas of ministry and all volunteers. We often feel obligated because we are paid to do it all. We just don’t want to overburden our volunteers. We want them to have very little responsibility.

NEW THOUGHT: When we invest in the leadership development of our volunteers, we are giving them something of great value. We are training them for leadership and life. And more than anything, we are giving them the opportunity to be part of Kingdom work that has eternal value.

2.  THE NEED TO RELATE – “I like to know everyone individually that is working on my team.” Many of us like to have a relationship with each person who is serving alongside of us in ministry. Though psychologist Robin Dunbar says our brains have the capacity for relationships with 150 people at a time, he also acknowledges that our innermost circle of connection is more like 3-5 people with a maximum of 10-15.

NEW THOUGHT: Truly meaningful relationships cannot happen when we try to connect with over ten people at a time. When we focus on developing five to seven leaders and investing our time and energy with that group, we can maintain a level of intimacy that promotes soul care.

3.  THE NEED TO RULE – “It is just easier if I do it myself.” Leadership development is an investment of time, energy, money and resources. It is not easy. It is often messy. Our egos and territories can sometimes keep us from sharing leadership with others. We delegate tasks at times, but never fully empower others to lead.

NEW THOUGHT: Developing our volunteer leaders frees us as staff from overworking. Even though our volunteer base is made up of people who work full-time elsewhere, they want to invest their free time wisely – into things that really matter. We have an investment opportunity that will bring lasting results as they grow as leaders and then in turn develop others.



Kelli is a motivational speaker, writer, and blogger and loves seeing people reach their full potential in Christ. In her role as Serve Minister at Christ Community Church in Georgia, she has the awesome privilege of rallying others to find their unique place of ministry. She also recently became the champion of Leadership Development. Her favorite home team includes her loving, funny, and not so quiet children. Connect with Kelli:



Jason Vernon

Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.

Comments (6)

  1. I love how Kelli challenges us to adopt “new thoughts” when it comes to our perspectives in leadership development. When we are willing to let go and share our responsibilities with others, we see the Body of Christ functioning as intended – with each person using the gifts and abilities God has given him/her. It’s a beautiful thing!

  2. It still interests me, yet not surprizing, that these three ‘reasons’ we tend to do it all ourselves is rooted in selfishness. All of them contain an aspect that benefits us personally. These ‘new thoughts’ redirect us to the needs of others and of God’s will. Great post, Kelli!

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